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Crist Fundraises In Tallahassee, Blasts Rick Scott's Policies

Charlie Crist with Tallahassee Attorney Darry Parks, talks to reporters during a fundraiser at Parks and Crump Law Firm

Charlie Crist is campaigning across Florida to get his old job back. Crist, a former Republican-turned-Independent, is running for Governor as a Democrat. During a fundraising stop in Tallahassee Thursday, he tried to contrast his policies to those of Governor Rick Scott.

“I am excited about running for governor, uh really excited about it, overwhelmed by the support we’ve received so far,” Scott told reporters Thursday just before stepping into a campaign fundraiser at the Tallahassee law firm of Parks and Crump.


Crist on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie campaigning for Governor Rick Scott:

“I think it’s interesting and entertaining. You know, they need to do whatever they think they need to do. For them, it seems to be all about the money. You know, whoever he thinks can come down and help him get more money he’s willing to stand with, and I wish them safe travels”.

Crist on whether it’s harder to raise money as a Democrat vs. as a Republican:

“So far, no. It’s been wonderful. I am very humbled by the response and it just hasn’t been from my fellow Democrats, but from Republicans and Independents, and I am very gratified by it, I really am.”

Crist on Scott’s selection of former House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s selection to be his Lieutenant Governor and whether it will make it harder for Crist to appeal to Hispanic voters:

No, I don’t. Carlos is a fine fellow, but he’s with the wrong guy. This race is about Governor Scott and Gov. Scott has disappointed Floridians with education, the environment, ethics; with so many things, and he’s the top of the ticket, and at the end of the day, that’s what this race is about.”

Crist on medical marijuana:

I think it’s an issue of compassion. As you know, my partner John Morgan has fought very hard to get this before the people and allow the people the opportunity to make the decision. That’s how democracy is supposed to work. And no disrespect to the Attorney General, but the notion of trying to get it to a point where you and I and the people of Florida don’t get the opportunity to make this decision, is now what a public servant is supposed to do.”

Crist on Governor Rick Scott and Ethics:

He’s got his record and I’ve got mine. And when Gov. Scott ran before, it was talked about a lot—maybe not enough—the fact that he ran a company that had to pay the largest fine for fraud in the history of our country at the time: $1.7 billion for fraud. What is fraud with a healthcare company? Basically, it’s upcoding—a fancy word for stealing. That’s wrong, that’s not the right thing to do.  I think people want ethical leadership. They want people who treat sick people and taxpayers fairly, instead of taking money from them you don’t earn.”

Crist on Scott’s choices to head state agencies:

“His picks, plural? They’ve been a disaster. How many education commissioners have we had? How many agency heads have we had? It’s one after another after another? Heads are rolling all the time over there. It’s a nightmare.”

Crist on how he can win over independent voters who distrust both him and Scott:

To me, it’s one person at a time and it’s looking people in the eye and saying look, I’m running for governor to try to serve you again, because I am disappointed. My heart is broken for educators, for people who care about the environment. For the middle class and the economy and the greater job opportunities we should be having in the sunshine state—that’s what I’d say. That’s what this is about. It’s about the future. I think in this race, people know what they’re going to get. They know Governor Scott now, and I believe they know me, and we’re very different people. I think they deserve better than what they have.”

Crist on combating Scott’s message of job growth and unemployment drops:

I think it was a global economic meltdown and the notion any one person or governor brought that down is absurd, it’s laughable. If they try to sell that to people, people are smarter than that, and they understand that’s not the case. I did things to keep us from going further in the ditch. I had the audacity to embraced President Obama, to accept the stimulus funds, the Recovery Act, tried to advocate for other people in Washington to support it, and thank God it happened. I mean, we would have lost 20,000 jobs in education and law enforcement. We served in a very difficult economic time, and two things we tried not to do:  Reduce funding for education...and to not leave the vulnerable in a lurch.” 

Crist on which of Governor Rick Scott’s policies he’d reverse:

“All of them. Let’s talk about voter rights first. I signed an executive order so voters could vote early more often and in more places. I think Democracy is something we ought to respect, we ought to care about. Let’s talk about education. I wouldn’t cut it $1.3 billion in my first year as Governor and follow it up with $300 million slashed to higher education the second year. You have to support it and nurture in order to do better. On the environment: I wouldn’t be dumping from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and the St. Lucie River so we have record deaths of manatees and children can’t go swimming in those reservoirs right now. I would change everything he’s doing and get Florida back on track. I would have approved the bullet train: These kind of things would have provided tens of thousands of jobs. And he’s the jobs governor? I could go on and on, but I have to visit some nice people. Thank you for being here. Nice to see you. And happy New Year.”

For more news updates, follow Lynn Hatter on twitter @HatterLynn

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.